11/21/2014 ESA Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Agenda – 3rd ESA Meeting – 11/21/2014, 1:00 – 1:45 pm (room 5414) OR 4:00 – 4:45 pm (room 5489)

Our 3rd ESA meeting will be a loose, discussion-based meeting, with the exception of the vote to adopt the draft of the ESA constitution (part of our petition to the DSC to be recognized as the official Program Student Association). We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and ideas about the draft (make comments on our Google doc here: http://bit.ly/ESAdraftconstitution). We’d also love to hear your ideas on the other items on the agenda. We will be discussing Revels, professionalization, MLA, etc.

Please note the rooms and time. Because many are attending other meetings or events that day, we are holding the same meeting twice. Come to the 1pm show (coffee), the 4pm show (wine) – or come to both!

  1. Call meeting to order
  2. Approve minutes from 10/24/2014 meeting– (see previous  agenda and minutes for extensive committee reports, also)
  3. Discussion and vote on adopting the draft of ESA constitution for the DSC (10 min)
  4. Discuss Revels: Discuss tentative budget and suggestion to make Revels mostly potluck (10 min)
  5.  Discuss the 2014 Doctoral Students Experience Survey results – specifically the 4 areas in which the English Program went down (10 min)
  6. Discuss MLA and the use of available funds (10 min)
  7. Report on Job Professionalization Committee (5 min)


Meeting Minutes – 3rd ESA Meeting –

11/21/2014, 1pm-2p (5414) & 4pm-5pm (5489)

Present: 23

Members present:

Jennifer Alberghini, Lindsey Albracht, Hilarie Ashton, Austin Bailey, Roya Biggie,

Esther Bernstein, LeiLani Dowell, Michael Druffel, Chris Eng, Becky Fullan, Paul Hebert,

Christina Katopodis, Amanda Licastro, Andrew Lucchesi, Jason Nielsen, Mikey Rumore,

Danica Savonick, Talia Shalev, Yair Solan, Maria Stracke, Charlotte Thurston,

Wendy Tronrud, Elly Weybright

Action taken:

  • Motion: Approved (unanimous)

To approve the ESA constitution to be submitted to the DSC to make the ESA an officially recognized Program Student Association with the DSC.


Revels: Discussion to make Revels mostly potluck

The budget for previous revels was approximately $800. Based on the unanimous vote at the previous ESA meeting on 10/24/14 to give funding to two student run conferences, “Trance” and “British Women Writers,” and given that the ESA budget is down about $100 per semester due to lower enrollment numbers, the suggestion was made to have Revels as mostly potluck (with exception of alcohol). Some pizzas will still be purchased. We’ve created a Google Doc to help coordinate this effort…. (pls help!)

Points of discussion included looking into possible refrigeration space if available, the recommendation that vegetarian and vegan options be available or encouraged as well, and a place to meet after Revels (upstairs at Slattery’s on 35th between Park & 5th, starting around 8:30/9 and on).


The 2014 Doctoral Students Experience Survey results

Discussion over the area in which the English Program went down from 2012 to 2014 – “Social and Emotional,” including the categories “Students Support One Another” (89.9% to 81.4%), “Satisfied with Program Social Activities” (80.6% to 69.7%), “Feel Belonging to Program” (68.7% to 62.9%) and “Students Treated with Respect” (96% to 87.3%). There was discussion over some issues in program in recent years that might have contributed to the shift in scores.

Student discussion raised concerns about open communication and transparency concerning financial aid and fellowship questions. While students recognized the need for discretion given different levels of funding in previous years or at different stages of the program, there was some frustration over lack of a clear sense of where to get information or ask questions when they arise.

There was some discussion of a student-sourced handbook that might be made or updated.


MLA and the use of possible funds

There was discussion over use of the approximate $900 available from the English program for use at MLA in Vancouver. At previous ESA meetings it was decided unanimously that ESA funds would not be used and it was stated that both or either co-chairs need not necessarily be present at MLA, particularly given the cost of getting to Vancouver.

Suggestions mentioned for use of funds included a possible open bar for current students at MLA, faculty, and alumni. As well, volunteer student coordinators might be able to receive partial reimbursement for some travel expenses. A possible dinner was mentioned as an idea, depending on the number of people. Amanda volunteered to help serve as possible coordinator or co-coordinator with other student(s). To be followed up on soon.


Job Professionalization Committee

Brief mention made of intentions of ad-hoc student committee to explore options regarding forms of “professionalization,” however that might be defined in various ways. Students, particularly at 2nd meeting, recognized and discussed the incredible amount of work already done by faculty. The goals of committee are not to suggest ways to quantify, formalize, or standardize anything. Rather, committee might explore options or possibilities for sharing of information to students at various stages in the program as well as possible uses of program resources at MLA. To that end, the committee is reaching out to alumni, former students who have gone to MLA, and students in other programs to explore options for forms of support, workshops, resource sharing, networking, and so forth. Mention was made of whether or not to anonymize responses. Maria offered to join other students on this committee and others are welcome to join. Ongoing.

Students also suggested that this committee should work with the existing Placement Committee as well as Alumni Committee on this. Ideas briefly mentioned for ways different committees might collaborate in the spring.

MLA grants: Chris and Amanda both mentioned one-time MLA matching grants and, at 2nd meeting, questions were asked about clarity and information of this process. Form is available on the MLA website. Point to be followed up on.

Alumni Lists: Paul and Jason received three alumni contact lists and Paul is in process of consolidating the list of contacts. This list might also be of use to other student committees, including Alumni and Fundraising Committees.

Spring report: Mention of Spring 2015 English program report for Middle States review and suggestions have been made that students might create a report that might be considered for inclusion in that report in the spring. Ongoing.

MLA – previous years: Several students briefly mentioned experiences at MLA in previous years in English program suite – Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago. Mention was made of difference in feeling or perception between a student’s use of room and a suite with an adjoining room and whether level of faculty attendance in suite varied depending on the room or space used.

Other Business:

  • Faculty Membership: Andrew and Chris reported from Faculty Membership meeting. See report at end of minutes.
  • Executive Committee: Student Executive Committee members reported on Friday Forum discussion at Executive Committee meeting and student resolution that was presented. They confirmed that it would be possible to have two students serving as Friday Forum committee members in future semesters. These two seats will be voted on in the next ESA elections. Committee members reported on further discussion at Executive Committee meeting regarding MLA, report on faculty dissertation workload, discussion of possible revisions to comprehensive exam (next year), discussion around possible elimination of subject test (ongoing), and elimination of application fees for CUNY students (next year).
  • Grants: Some brief discussion over the grant writing initiatives discussion on the ESA-L concerning possible funds available from the CUNY Research Foundation. Proposals due from departmental EOs on Dec 1st. There was general consensus at 2nd meeting (4-5 pm) that a proposal should be submitted for use of funds if possible and that a series of workshops would be ideal, though a proposal along those lines not be possible by the deadline. A suggestion was made that someone might contact other schools – NYU, Columbia – to inquire about contacts, resources, or options, particularly given that CUNY RF funds cannot be used for anyone at CUNY. It was agreed that it might be helpful to come to some form of general consensus on this in terms of student interests. It was also mentioned again that this is not an ESA matter to vote on but is instead a form submitted by Mario and students were encouraged to discuss on ESA list and also email Mario directly with proposals or ideas.
  • Right to remain silent: Discussion at 1st meeting of CUNY Board of Trustees considering eliminating student right to remain silent and the existing petition going around. Possibility of an ESA signed resolution was suggested, though timing of this idea is close to or dependent on Board of Trustees meeting on 12/6/14.
  • Early Modern and American Studies workshops: Roya mentioned the Early Modern publication workshop on 12/5 from 11am-1pm in 5409 and encouraged open invitation to others to attend, including students in other fields. Danica also mentioned the American Studies Group informal workshop (abstracts for ASA) on 12/8 at 3pm in 5414 with Duncan Faherty, Eric Lott, and Kandice Chuh.
  • ESA committees, elections, and by-laws: Students mentioned revisions to ESA by-laws last year concerning attendance or end of year reports from ESA committees. Paul mentioned possible revisions to by-laws to be submitted for review at later meeting. Amanda mentioned the importance of “institutional memory” in the program and for the ESA with a suggestion made to briefly describe issues ongoing or on the table for following year at time of spring ESA elections (as something that might influence nominations or voting in important ways) and also continued facilitation of contact between committee members from year to the next. This suggestion was well received and something to be followed up with Elections Committee (and all committees) closer to spring elections.
  • PSA: Austin Bailey mentioned possibility of going to the next PSC meeting and reporting back at the next ESA meeting of any matters of particular interest and importance to students in the program.


Below are notes from the 11/21 meeting of the Faculty Membership Committee:

1. Current hires:


Karl Steel (early modern, animal studies, post-humanism)

Also pending new hire in 17th/18th Century, trans-national lit


2. Current searches:

Modernism search:

Alison Pease (British modernism, feminism/women’s writing, aesthetics, visual culture)

–> Will teach in 2015/16 AY

–> perhaps will make more offers/ask more folks to teach test courses after we see how things go with Pease


African American:

Three active candidates doing test courses:

Spring 15: Terry Rowden “Metablackness”, Tyler Schmidt (mid 20th c AfAm lit)

Fall 15: Kelly Josephs (Anglophone/Caribbean, 20th c)



Fall 15: Carmon Kanard (AfAm and other Minority Rhetorics); Amy Wan (public rhetoric, literacy, citizenship)


3. Topics for the future:

Latino/a and hemispheric studies call coming soon: consortium hire


18th Century– probably need one more person

Graphic Lit– not pursuing an active call yet (Nancy K. Miller already does some, and Jonathan Grey might be coming on under AfAm call); will re-visit issue in the future


Science studies — no call in the near future; we may have enough folks to do courses in science studies, more discussion to come

Victorian poetry– already have MANY Victorian faculty, none do poetry; no search soon